24th August 2011
From the Guardian, China overtakes the US to become world's largest automobile market, as global sales pass the 1bn mark, but hopes that the country will also become a pioneer in the shift towards "clean car" technology have suffered a setback as the Chinese show little sign of interest in electric and hybrid vehicles despite ambitious government plans. Last year, Toyota managed to sell only one Prius – the world's most commercially successful hybrid car – in the fastest-growing market.
From the New York Times, Moody's, the credit ratings agency, lowered Japan's credit rating by one notch on Wednesday, warning that frequent changes in administration, weak prospects for economic growth and its recent natural and nuclear disasters made it difficult for the government to pare down its huge debt.
Business investment in Britain is heading for its lowest level on record, according to Barclays Capital, raising concerns about a key plank of the Government's growth strategy, reports the Telegraph.
While in the Guardian they are reporting a worldwide lack of investment confidence, a collapse in German investor sentiment and weakening demand for new homes in the US sent out fresh warnings about the general health of the global economy.
This morning on the Independent, George Osborne is under mounting pressure from Conservative MPs for a change of economic course amid new signs that the squeeze on household budgets is choking Britain's fragile recovery.
BBC News is discussing Vietnam's inflation. The rate rose for the 12th month in a row in August, driven by higher food and fuel costs. The country's consumer price index was up 23% from a year earlier, which is the highest rate of inflation in Asia.
Meanwhile in the eurozone, Jyrki Katainen, the Finnish prime minister, has threatened to withdraw support for the Greek bailout in a move that could crush the fragile signs of recovery on global markets, from the Telegraph.
Despite disappointment in most sectors, technology is once again one the success stories (for now anyway), from the Financial Times, deals in the technology and telecoms industry have returned to pre-recession levels this year, thanks to a number of big acquisitions such as AT&T's $39bn purchase of T-Mobile. After two years in the doldrums, the value of merger and acquisition activity in the sector is close to levels last seen in 2008.
Leading companies are failing to tackle gender diversity at board level, experts warn. That's despite a government deadline demanding they publish proposals to boost the number of female board members, from the Independent.
In the Wall Street Journal, advertising giant WPP PLC Wednesday slightly trimmed its full-year forecast even though the group posted a 53% rise in first-half net profit and said the heightened concerns about the macroeconomic environment haven't yet led to any advertising spending cuts from clients.
Manchester United's planned Singapore IPO could be a tough sell to professional investors given it is already unprofitable and success on the field is never guaranteed, analysts say in Reuters.
Also in Reuters, as gold prices near $2,000 an ounce, some bulls say it's time to take money off the table after the safe-haven rally extended too far too fast in recent weeks.
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